Top Stories

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations.

In Iceland, heat is extracted for use in power plants directly from the ground in volcanic areas. Constructing a geothermal power station near a volcano can be beneficial, since Earth’s mantle is located relatively close to the crust in those areas, making the heat easily accessible. This means that the boreholes do not need to be very deep and the pipes to the power plant can be short.

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SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet

SF State astronomer Stephen Kane searches for signs of life in one of the extrasolar systems closest to Earth

Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It’s also the driving force behind San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane’s research into exoplanets — planets that exist outside Earth’s solar system.

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Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna

New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change. 

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Mapping out a low-carbon future

Fulfilling the promise of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change — most notably the goal of limiting the rise in mean global surface temperature since preindustrial times to 2 degrees Celsius — will require a dramatic transition away from fossil fuels and toward low-carbon energy sources. To map out that transition, decision-makers routinely turn to energy scenarios, which use computational models to project changes to the energy mix that will be needed to meet climate and environmental targets. These models account for not only technological, economic, demographic, political, and institutional developments, but also the scope, timing, and stringency of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

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How Climate Change Impacts Our Water Supply

The water cycle, the process by which water circulates through the planet’s atmosphere and waterways, helps make life here on Earth possible.

Climate change, however, caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions, is disrupting that process. It’s creating a vicious cycle in which higher temperatures, changes in rainfall and water contamination cause environmental consequences that make global warming worse and damage the health of the planet further.

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Mayo researchers identify mechanism of oncogene action in lung cancer

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified a genetic promoter of cancer that drives a major form of lung cancer. In a new paper published this week in Cancer Cell, Mayo Clinic researchers provide genetic evidence that Ect2 drives lung adenocarcinoma tumor formation.

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How Much Drought Can a Forest Take?

Aerial tree mortality surveys show patterns of tree death during extreme drought.

Why do some trees die in a drought and others don’t? And how can we predict where trees are most likely to die in future droughts?

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Georgia State Study Uses Social Media, Internet To Forecast Disease Outbreaks

When epidemiological data are scarce, social media and Internet reports can be reliable tools for forecasting infectious disease outbreaks, according to a study led by an expert in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

“Our study offers proof of concept that publicly available online reports released in real-time by ministries of health, local surveillance systems, the World Health Organization and authoritative media outlets are useful to identify key information on exposure and transmission patterns during epidemic emergencies,” the researchers said. “Our Internet-based findings on exposure patterns are in good agreement with those derived from traditional epidemiological surveillance data, which can be available after considerable delays.”

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Scientists discover how to prevent undesirable immune attacks on therapeutic viruses

LA JOLLA—Normally when we think of viruses, from the common cold to HIV, we want to boost people’s immunity to fight them. But for scientists who develop therapeutic viruses (to, for example, target cancer cells or correct gene deficiencies) a more important question is: How do we keep people’s natural immune responses at bay? In these cases, an overenthusiastic immune response actually undermines the therapy.

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Pancreatic tumors rely on signals from surrounding cells

LA JOLLA—Just as an invasive weed might need nutrient-rich soil and water to grow, many cancers rely on the right surroundings in the body to thrive. A tumor’s microenvironment—the nearby tissues, immune cells, blood vessels and extracellular matrix—has long been known to play a role in the tumor’s growth.

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